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Illinois Law Brings Physician Database Back Online

Patients will soon be able go online to look up information on Illinois doctors, including judgments and settlements in medical malpractice lawsuits, because Gov. Pat Quinn signed the "Patient Right to Know Act" on Tuesday, August 9, 2011. The law reinstates a "popular web-based tool," which was available in Illinois for roughly two years. But after the Illinois Supreme Court struck down a medical malpractice reform law in its entirety, the state was forced to halt the feature, which included a physician-profile tool. The searchable database, which is expected to be up and running in roughly two months will include information on more than 46,000 doctors.

The Chicago Tribune (8/10, Twohey) reports that the legislation "passed this year as a stand-alone bill after a Tribune series found that state regulators allowed dangerous doctors, even those convicted of sex crimes, to continue practicing," and that "patients were often unaware of the physicians' criminal convictions, malpractice or terminations." As a result of the new law, "the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation will be required to post the doctor profiles on its website, idfpr.com," in the next two months. "The profiles also will include medical schools attended, specialty board certification, number of years in practice and locations, and whether the physician participates in the Medicaid program, among other details."

Information about physicians, whether it is good or bad news, is useful and necessary for all patients when selecting their physician.

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